Mental Health Initiative

The goal of the Mental Health Initiative is to provide every library staff member in the state with the opportunity to learn how to work effectively with patrons affected by mental illness.

Training opportunities for FY 2017-18 will include:

Instructor Certification Program Requirements

  • A Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor Program for 30 library staff members, a week long training that will equip these staff to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to their co-workers and community partners;
  • MHFA 8-hour trainings geared to other specific populations, i.e., Spanish-speaking, public safety personnal and older adults;
  • Webinars to provide tools to deal with specific topics or populations (i.e.: de-escalation strategies, LGBTQ teen mental health issues, and effective marketing of mental health resources to the community).

In addition to staff training, we will offer three Community Mental Health Resource Fairs. The Fairs will reinforce libraries as anchors in the community and take the mental health resources to the next step. These resource fairs will be offered through three public libraries (one in each major region of California: Northern, Central, and Southern), and will bring together community-based organizations that serve individuals and families affected by mental illness. Local agencies will see libraries taking a lead role in the community to support patrons with mental health needs and will seek more opportunities for collaboration.

Mental Health Training Videos

The State Library, in collaboration with the County of Los Angeles Public Library and the Los Angeles Public Library, has created an 8-part video series that addresses different aspects of mental illness and how library staff can best respond.

Episodes 7 and 8 are forthcoming.